Harp Gliss Template- Playback Problems

Starting to get into harp notation. Want to create a few samples, and put them in a Harp Template. Attached my effort so far.

Would like to create a glissando following the Stanley Chaloupka model at p. 14 of his “Harp Scoring.” Understand it’s the bible. Finding for myself, and others as well, harp notation can be a monster.

Per Daniel S. suggestion, whited out the last note with “colors.” The notes shown would indicate pedal positions.

Made “gliss” text with lines function. Cumbersome, but works.

But can’t get the thing to playback evenly.

Any/all suggestions welcome.
Harp Gliss (playback incorrect).dorico (957.2 KB)

Thank You!

Forgive my ignorance, but is there a reason Dorico’s in-built glissando lines (which should play back automatically) aren’t workable?

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Hi Lillie,
Sorry. Yes, the playback works great from the B nat. But in looking at the “Harp Scoring” Stanley Chaloupka examples, it looks like he intends the gliss to start from the first note of the pedal instructions. (C natural)
The more I look at it, maybe it’s NOT the best way to notate a gliss, as confusion as to the first note.
Need to buy (finally) Elaine Gould’s book. She would have the answer!
So I’m premature. I’ll look for a clearer example, showing the pedal settings, and also showing clearly the note the gliss begins on. Maybe the “bible” should be augmented.
Sorry for the confusion.

Hi John,
I’m married to a professional harpist and I’ve been writing for concert harp for at least 12 years now. I’m extremely familiar with all the uncertainties that come with the lack of unified conventions on some harp notation. You can go through Salzedo, Grandjany, Renié, to more recent writings such as Chaloupka, Gould, Stone, and still end up finding harpists not agreeing… Pedal changes should be written between staves or below the grand staff; should they be written in single line for two or three pedal changes or respect their respective line. Lines for same pedal changes. Diagrams. Etc.
So, in short, I’ll tell you what my wife and at least two dozens of professional harpists I’ve consulted through the years have all agreed on: Don’t worry about the ‘correct’ notation; just make sure it’s readable and understandable without the need of extra explanation.
Here’s the way most of the harpists I personally know have told me they prefer glissandi to be notated:

You could even add a pedal diagram there… though it could seem to be ‘overkill’, sometimes it’s useful for rehearsals; when they have to jump from one passage to the other during rehearsals, they have to reconfigure pedal positions, so a diagram is sometimes useful. Still, it’s not THE way; it’s just ANOTHER way to write it.


Thank you Josue. This is terrific!

I’m going to paste it verbatim into the “harp” category in my running list of thoughts for individual instruments.

Just heard a tip from a professional harpist that she really likes to see chord symbols. Tells her a lot about the pedal changes.

Do you mind if I pass this on to her?

Again, thanks so much!


Chord symbols definitely help a lot, although, depending on the style and type of music, sometimes it’s cumbersome for the part—they can even be confused for pedal changes depending on the font, size and position of both markings. But a great detail many harpists will be grateful for.
And I don’t mind you sharing; please, by all means, do so. Thanks for sharing your experience too!


I’ll pass it on. Much appreciated!


Sorry. Forgot to pester you with this detail:

How did you get the reference notes, and the parentheses at the ends? I know I can hide the stems, and use 8th or shorter notes to make the notes closer together. But would this play back correctly? Wouldn’t Dorico playback recognize the reference note rhythm, and slow down there?

Maybe a graphic? (but don’t know how that works.)

Your example seems crystal clear to me.

Again, sorry.


Dorico plays back harp glisses by the current pedal settings (7 notes per octave).

You have to input the reference notes as a new voice, then change size, hide stems, and turn off playback. Dorico will play only de glissando normally, taking into account the pedal settings.

So I can turn off playback for just the notes with the reference voice? Right-- I’d like to be able to playback a whole piece, absent the reference notes.

Thanks again,

P.S. The harpist is Gayle Levant. “The thoughts from Josue are absolutely correct”.

You can turn off playback for any specific thing playable (notes, expression marks, technical marks, tempo changes, repeat symbols, etc.) through the properties panel. The rest of the music will keep playing as usual.

P.S. - Oh my! Are you talking about THE Gayle Levant, president of the ASMAC?! What a privilege you have… kudos!


Thanks for the tips. I duplicated your solution completely in Dorico, and used your suggestions.

Though I silenced the reference notes (in a different voice), playback paused on the last reference note, and the gliss played from there only.

Will try again.



Hi, I found a problem with glissando playback. When I connect two notes the gliss starts only after half of the first note - kind of delay. How can I force Dorico to start playing gliss from the beginning of a note?

Hi Marcin, see here:

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